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Thursday, August 17, 2017

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SGA will continue its stunted presence on campus if it can’t attract involvement


It will take a lot more than pizza to incentivize students to engage with SGA. | Jasmine Davis/The Cougar

The Student Government Association needs to ramp up outreach if it wants to have more student involvement in the elections.

Last year, barely more than four thousand students voted in the elections (roughly 10 percent of the undergraduate population). With the elections less than a week away, there has been little to no visible encouragement for students to vote.

SGA has been trying harder than ever before to get more students civically involved, whether through going to meetings, town halls or other SGA events.

The more students who are actually involved with SGA as senators or as students attending meetings, the more accurately SGA can reflect the needs and wants of students while carrying out initiatives on their behalf.

The Cougar asked students what they thought about SGA, and the general consensus was not enough students know about SGA or its mission and that SGA needs to reach out more to the student body.

It is difficult to devise how SGA can effectively reach students in order to cultivate a higher level of involvement. The easiest solution is social media, which SGA already utilizes relatively successfully.

As a whole, SGA does its best appealing to students, but at the senatorial level, there is much to be desired.

At the very least, senators should hold (and publicly advertise) regular town hall meetings with their constituents to gauge their needs and orient their platforms accordingly, which would provide more opportunities for students to interact with leaders in a more intimate manner.

Transparency and charisma are essential to initiate a relationship with the student body, but SGA needs to develop creative means to sustain that relationship if it ever wants to have a productive impact on the university.

Opinion editor Thomas Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and can be reached [email protected]

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